Ian McDonald weaves a love story across an endless expanse with his science fiction novella Time Was
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.
In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.
Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Veteran speculative author McDonald (the Luna series) entrances readers with this multigenerational novella of two time-crossed lovers who can only meet for brief moments separated by several years. An old, anonymous poetry book thrown into the rubbish in modern-day London contains an obliquely written love letter that leads narrator Emmett to search for Tom and Ben, two lovers who met during World War II but were forced by mysterious circumstances to wander alone across time and space. The threads McDonald weaves together are equally compelling. Emmett's obsessive quest provides a colorful frame for the clues of the lovers' appearances. The sections following Tom and Ben vividly portray the hopes of youth torn apart by wars and the mystery of their separations. Every locale McDonald includes, be it modern London or WWII-era southeast England, is infused with a deep sense of place. The ending's predictability is washed away by beautiful writing that mixes Emmett's excitement with melancholy ("I had touched an echo, basked in the afterglow"). Fans of science fiction who enjoy a dash of history and legend will savor this tender story.
An absolutely beautiful story and even more beautifully written